See what you like, if you can find it

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Content is king, if you can find it.

As streaming services proliferate, it becomes harder and harder to find your favorite hit TV shows and movies when streaming services may change their offerings every month. It makes life difficult for those who know what they want to watch, but just don’t know where to find it.

Some hits are practically traveling. “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight,” for example, bounced around four different services between March 2020 and March 2021 – Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, and Peacock. Some of those services hosted the movies twice during that time, according to Reelgood, a service that tracks videos on streaming services. (You can currently find the movies on Hulu and HBO Max.)

Want to watch a Harry Potter movie? Films in the series began on HBO Max in May 2020 before heading to Peacock in August. They then returned to HBO Max in June 2021 – but only for a single month. Right now, the first three movies are available for free on Peacock, but you’ll need a premium membership for the last five.

Shortly after its launch in March, Paramount + picked up some of its films, such as “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” and Paul Rudd’s comedy “I Love You Man”, from other services.

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This merry-go-round arguably started in 2019 when NBC announced that it would no longer license “The Office” to Netflix, although Netflix retained the rights until 2020 – a move intended to strengthen the streaming service. NBC’s Peacock. “The Office” was the most-viewed show on Netflix in 2018, airing for over 52 billion minutes, according to Nielsen. HBO Max made a similar move by removing “Friends” from Netflix.

The Hollywood producers of these shows and movies are probably appreciative of the extra money they’ve made by licensing shows to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and similar services. But those partners have gradually turned into competitors as studios like NBCUniversal, Disney, and WarnerMedia have created their own streaming options to jump into the gold rush. In the meantime, Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu have focused more on creating their own original content.

“Exclusive content has always been a big factor in the battle for streaming domination,” said Reelgood CEO David Sanderson. Production companies who want a bigger slice of the pie, he said, have realized that their best chance for success involves their own properties.

Consumers, on the other hand, must frantically search for the shows they want. Chris Kaufman, 35, from Logan, Utah, has already put movies like the “Ocean’s 11” trilogy in his Netflix queue to watch later. But when he approached them, they were gone. (They left Netflix in December 2020 and are now on HBO Max).

“I don’t have a lot of time in the day to watch, and now I have to go get it,” he said.

Search engines can help. Alan Keane, a 35-year-old Brooklyn resident, says he uses Google when not looking for individual services. Other choices include apps like Reelgood and JustWatch, which let you search for a customizable list of services for particular titles. Digital media players like Roku and Apple TV also let you search through any streaming apps you’ve subscribed to.

But having to constantly search for those shows and movies can be frustrating. Since there is no penalty for consumers dropping out of a streaming service, it can also lead to customer “churn”, an industry term for the rate at which people sign up and drop out. services, said Jeff Wlodarczak, analyst at Pivotal Research.

“If your streaming service is lacking in interesting content, I would just remove the service and come back at a later date,” he said.

Kaufman said he and his family, including his wife and child, are considering ditching Netflix as they use HBO Max more now.

“We discussed as a household, we could give up a service every month and buy it back a few months later when it’s fresh and new to us,” he said.

Kevin Westcott, who heads the U.S. tech, media and telecoms business at consulting firm Deloitte, said his firm’s research reveals this content merry-go-round is the number one report of subscriber frustration with streaming services. . It is also the second reason people say they can cancel a service, right after the price increase.

But he doesn’t see things changing anytime soon. In fact, Westcott believes that a version of “windowing” – the process of releasing a movie first in a theater, then on cable channels and streaming services – will remain in place because it is a major source. of income for the studios. “We’re always going to be in a situation where the content is going to move,” he said.

Netflix, Amazon, NBCUniversal, Disney and WarnerMedia did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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